Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.
I keep missing this film, and it frustrates me enormously. I think it sounds fascinating, and not just because there are a few seconds of screentime dedicated to my face, either.
Reaction to this one has been really strong at festivals so far, and I hope I do catch up with it soon. For now, here’s a reviewer who is always more correct than me…
With all these questions surrounding JUSTICE LEAGUE (will it be delayed by the strike, who will be cast, when will Vern stop telling us about how awesome George Miller is) there is one fact that most of us have missed: a Justice League movie has already been made starring your favorite Justice League heroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and of course The Incredible Hulk. There are also guest appearances by lesser heroes like Ghost Rider, Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin.
This version is called CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERHERO and it comes out on DVD in January. It’s a documentary about those people who dress up as cartoon characters on Hollywood Boulevard, pose for pictures with tourists and then guilt them into giving them tips. We all remember the notorious Spongebob incident. Spongebob was probaly too dangerous and unpredictable for a camera crew to follow, so instead the movie focuses on Superman. You may have seen this guy interviewed on TV before. He looks eerily like Christopher Reeve, but he’s really skinny, like Superman got the space cancer. It’s disturbing to look at. His friend Batman looks alot like George Clooney. Wonder Woman doesn’t look like anybody famous, but she seems like a nice girl. And the Hulk is just a guy in a costume who blacks out on hot days. They’re all aspiring actors, some aspiring harder than others, and at first they seem pretty normal and reasonable. Except Superman.
Sorry Kryptoniacs, but it’s true. Superman is a total wear out. The movie is really cleverly put together, revealing information a piece at a time so that the picture keeps changing and keeps you guessing. At first Superman just seems like kind of a weirdo with a strange job. And full of shit. In the interviews he keeps saying “We don’t work for tips, we accept donations,” but in the footage him and Batman keep saying “And we work for tips” and holding their super hands out after a photos is taken.
But I didn’t figure him for a Superman fetishist like my old newsgroup pal Kalelfan. This only becomes clear when he goes to his apartment and starts showing his shelves and stacks and piles of cheesy Superman memorabilia. I thought for a second it could be just research materials but by the time he takes out the crude cardboard dioramas he made of scenes from those corny old movies I wanted to back away slowly.
The movie doesn’t explicitly make fun of him except when he brags to a tourist that he’s also an actor in movies and TV, and they have a quick cut to him as an extra in some terrible kid’s movie, wearing a wig and dancing behind a kid and a dwarf. He mentions that his mom was an actress but it’s not until 30 minues in that he says his mom was Sandy Dennis.
Holy shit! Sandy Dennis gave birth to this freak? Or did she find him in a cornfield and adopt him? They start interviewing some of Sandy Dennis’s relatives about her. But it’s not for another 30 minutes or so that they reveal they don’t believe Superman is even related to them, because Sandy Dennis never had a kid. And she probaly would’ve mentioned it to them if she did.
Batman’s stories start to fall apart too. At first I accepted him as a normal guy, he even laughs about his friend’s obsession with Superman. But the more he talks about his anger, his dark past, special forces training, mafia connections… the more it looks like the cape is there to hide the fact that his pants are on fire. There’s a really uncomfortable scene where they get him to talk to a psychiatrist (in costume) and he starts to tell a story that involves his wife getting murdered and him getting revenge on the culprits. But he doesn’t seem to expect that the shrink will ask him to clarify details of the story and he starts to stumble. Whoops, I guess a psychiatrist is not gonna think you’re cool when you claim that you murdered somebody.
Between Superman and Batman the movie could easily be a freak show, like TREKKIES, and a good one. But it’s nice that they have a couple sympathetic super heroes too. Wonder Woman seems real nice, and there are moving scenes as her and her husband are clearly growing apart on camera. (not over Wonder Woman related issues, don’t worry. No invisible plane arguments or anything.) Hulk seems like a cool guy too. He shows the cameras the spot where he used to sleep when he was homeless. Then he gets a part in FINISHING THE GAME. So you can feel good about Hulk, he knows the director of TOKYO DRIFT now.
There are lots of funny moments, like when Superman is showing a new Ghost Rider the ropes, says super heroes can never smoke, and Ghost Rider argues that he can because “he’s made of fire.” And there are tons of uncomfortable scenes like when Superman goes out of town for a Superman convention, and you’re relieved that he can’t pressure people for tips anymore, but then he still makes you squirm by constantly bugging everybody to “remember to vote for your favorite Superman” in the costume contest. But unlike many lesser documentaries they don’t try to play that up with a bunch of wacky music or cheesy graphics. It’s class all the way with a downbeat, gloomy score and nice photography. The only little show-off maneuvers are some artistic portrait type shots of the people staring into the camera or (against Superman’s rules) smoking in costume. And having them talk to the psychiatrist is obviously a set up. That kind of goes against the documentarian’s code of honor I think, like in CANNIBAL FEROX when they have that little animal on a chain and a big snake “just happens to come along” and eats it. But I didn’t really mind because it wasn’t like they were tricking anybody, and in fact those scenes sort of give you the idea that Batman has been lying in other scenes. Where’s the Joker when you need him?
My one major compaint is about one of the people they interview, Drew McWeeny. He only has one line at the beginning, and not a very good one. It seems like they took it out of context, he doesn’t really get to comment on much. Next time let’s see a little more effort to not get cut out of the movie, Moriarty. You can do it.
Also there’s nobody dressed up as Blade or Ziggy. That was disappointing. I bet alot of people would want to get their picture with Ziggy. Come on guys, who wants to be Ziggy.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/35049
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:41 a.m. CST
Vern-You are the best man!
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:47 a.m. CST
Your review of Trekkie’s
Vern, I went back and watched that after reading your review just because of that fucking kid! that 14 year old douche bag kid, he is the most annoying kid ever. Your review was spot on my friend!
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:47 a.m. CST
If any chick ever dresses up as Lady Death…
by Kid Z
…she’ll definitely get a tip from me!
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:53 a.m. CST
I’m gonna dress up as ziggy
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:54 a.m. CST
I saw this about a month ago. Not to mention, “Wonder Woman” is a hottie!
Dec. 13, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST
Superman with space cancer!!! – funny stuff!
This sounds funny and nighnmarish in all the right places.
Dec. 13, 2007, 9:06 a.m. CST
Spoiler tag please
by Billy Batts
Kinda ruined some of the cool reveals in the movie.
Dec. 13, 2007, 9:09 a.m. CST
Superman as at the Uk premiere of SR
Sure was tall. And did look like a skinny Chris Reeve.
Dec. 13, 2007, 9:10 a.m. CST
Doesn’t need a spoiler tag
Weirdo dressed up as Supes, begging for money. THE END
Dec. 13, 2007, 9:13 a.m. CST
Freakin’ Hilarious !!!
Sounds like the funniest movie to come out this year. Love it !!!
Dec. 13, 2007, 9:21 a.m. CST
Vern, love my copy of ‘Seagalogy’
Really, really do. Hilarious and at times even touching. So good it deserved a better cover. Congratulations.
Dec. 13, 2007, 9:40 a.m. CST
Vern is our last hope
Dec. 13, 2007, 9:52 a.m. CST
as always Vern, great review, I’m interested in seeing this now
Dec. 13, 2007, 10:06 a.m. CST
FULL CIRCLE, Vern
The Hulk now knows the director of Tokyo Drift, Tokyo Drift has Lil Bow Wow driving a Hulk car. That’s heavy. I love Tokyo Drift, no matter what anyone says.
Dec. 13, 2007, 10:14 a.m. CST
GEORGE FUCKING MILLER!
by Abin Sur
That’s my equivalent of all those guys that used to yell THIRTEEN! in all the old Rome TBs. You rock, Vern – good review.
Dec. 13, 2007, 10:32 a.m. CST
shortest Vern review ever?
seriously, I expect all my Vern reviews to be a minimum of 22 paragraphs.
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:11 a.m. CST
Marilyn Monroe is my favorite JL member
Along with the Incredible Hulk.
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:11 a.m. CST
The Hulk!!!! Joe McQueen
Big Joe McQueen is a very good friend of mine it really was great to see such a hard worker get a break. He is the real deal…if you work in L.A. you know Joe.
You can see him as The Hulk in a short film I made. Check out the trailer to “Serial Killer Scavenger Hunt” on DementedEnt.com
Rock on Buddy!
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:16 a.m. CST
I’d love to be Ziggy!
by Turd Furgusen
Too bad I’m 6’2″ and don’t really enjoy wearing over-sized sweaters with no pants.
Great review as always, Vern.
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:33 a.m. CST
Don’t knock space cancer til you’ve tried it, bud.
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:36 a.m. CST
VERN. Please take over this site.
C’mon man – you’re funny and you write great reviews. Plus you’ve done time and can kick ass. AICN needs you to take it over and kick it into shape like a new inmate.
Dec. 13, 2007, 12:29 p.m. CST
I’ll go as Jughead if somebody else buys the burgers
by Spandau Belly
Archie is where it’s at.
Dec. 13, 2007, 12:33 p.m. CST
In case you missed it…
There’s a funny video floating around of two of these guys (one is Spider-Man and the other is Batman) kicking the crap out of some other dude. Here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/334jnp
Dec. 13, 2007, 12:34 p.m. CST
The nitwit kid from Trekkies
has grown up and seems to be fairly normal and more than a little embarrassed at his own young douchiness. If I’m not mistaken, he does visual effects work for Battlestar Galactica now.
Dec. 13, 2007, 12:35 p.m. CST
are you serious? That’s so unfair.
Dec. 13, 2007, 12:41 p.m. CST
kid from Trekkies
dude you are right, I just checked him on IMDB. He’s actually working on the Speedracer movie. And he’s married, and the he was the person who wrote his own trivia on the page
Dec. 13, 2007, 1:07 p.m. CST
If it becomes available on Xbox Live download…
…then I’ll have to check it out.
Dec. 13, 2007, 1:10 p.m. CST
It’s always nice to read your reviews, Vern. By the way, the article’s post-sign-off link to your web sight doesn’t work right now. Probaly, there’s not alot wrong with the link, just a misspelling or something, maybe involving “cities”. ;-) (Hope you don’t mind the homidge there, Vern!) :-)
Dec. 13, 2007, 1:12 p.m. CST
So this is a documentary about making fun of crazy people?
by Dapper Swindler
Is that really necessary? Somewhere I got the impression that all documentaries had noble goals. But this is like if I took a camera outside and filmed some of the wacky homeless people on the street corner – like the homeless guy who will rap for a quarter.
Dec. 13, 2007, 1:20 p.m. CST
It’s not about making fun of crazy people, but you’re right, that is a question I struggle with for documentaries. Where is the line between “this is an interesting slice of life” and “this is an exploitative freak show”? I mean somebody might say “making fun of crazy people” is what GREY GARDENS about but are you gonna tell me that’s a worthless documentary? I don’t know the answer but I do know I enjoy this type of movie when it’s done well.
Dec. 13, 2007, 1:21 p.m. CST
As for the noble goals though
that’s horse shit, documentaries are movies, they are about documenting. The noble goal movies are good for you but they’re not usually the best movies, in my opinion. I’ll take a Maysles brothers over a fuckin Robert Greenwald.
Dec. 13, 2007, 1:23 p.m. CST
I wouldn’t call them ‘aspiring actors’
by Han Cholo
More like ‘two-bit’ actors. I mean really, would any casting director even consider casting someone who does street cosplay? Maybe as an extra or a stand in at best.
Dec. 13, 2007, 5:58 p.m. CST
I was there when Freddy stabbed a tourist…
…And we thought it was an act… till we saw the blood on the pavement and the cops come in – Now THAT was freaky… Superman on Meth is one thing, a character who actually plays his role to the point of stabbing someone because they don’t give you a tip? Completely another… Gotta love it.
Dec. 13, 2007, 6:36 p.m. CST
Dec. 13, 2007, 7:11 p.m. CST
Vern rock`s AICN!
Best reviews and the best TB`s.Fuck all Vern hater`s.He is the MAN!
Dec. 13, 2007, 7:24 p.m. CST
Vern, I want a review of a Hulk Hogan movie
Or his life. Something funny and good, its been too long since a great Vern, Stone Cold type review.
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:21 p.m. CST
Finally a cinematic DC/Marvel crossover
..made for cheap and OC actor free.George Miller take note.
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:30 p.m. CST
…movie shoulda been called Straight Outta Arkham
oh man I remember that kid from TREKKIES. The autobigraphical IMDB info doesn’t surprise me a bit if you knw what I mean.He actually made a baby with a girl huh?
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:35 p.m. CST
Jedi’s would NEVER want money to pose for pics
…they might want a bite of your sandwich though.
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:43 p.m. CST
The whimsical story how people dress up in costumes of someone else’s copyrighted properties in the middle of Hollywood, in broad daylight and NOT GET SUED.
Dec. 13, 2007, 8:47 p.m. CST
call the movie DUDE WHERE’S MY CEASE AND DESIST LETTER?
Dec. 13, 2007, 9:54 p.m. CST
I met the Superman guy once…
was in LA for the Spiderman 2 premiere and he was walking past my hotel and we stopped him to get a picture. So he pulls out of his trunks 2 little photo albums of pictures he took of his favorite scenes of Superman the Movie on this big screen tv. The other album was pics of him with Margot Kidder, Noel Neill(s/p) etc….then he invited us to his apartment to see all his superman memorabillia. THats when we gracefully bid him adieu and got the hell away from him. I always thought he looked like Meth addict Superman myself….
Dec. 14, 2007, 9:15 a.m. CST
I can’t help but feel sorry
for these guys. I sure wouldn’t want a camera crew following me around exposing all my flaws for the world to see.
Dec. 14, 2007, 10:40 a.m. CST
I saw them shooting some of this
I wonder if I’m in the background.
Dec. 14, 2007, 9:06 p.m. CST
does that geocities link still work o_O
nice review, as always, vern.
VERN has a new action-horror novel out called WORM ON A HOOK! He has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the film criticism books Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal and Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer!: Writings on Bruce Willis, Badass Cinema and Other Important Topics as well as the crime novel Niketown.